Monday, January 19, 2015

Ground Controls and More

After the launch, Emily and I were definitely excited to fill our ground controls.  We then celebrated with a great breakfast and had a chance to rest after such an eventful day.  For the next couple days, we packed up the lab and got a chance to finally explore Kennedy Space Center and everything it had to offer.

Boxes upon boxes to ship back to the lab
Must-have meatball picture at the KSC Visitor Center

Astronaut Hall of Fame: what a great hidden treasure just a few miles outside of KSC
The Saturn V Rocket was enormous! 

Our last day at Residence Inn

Lastly, we got to see the on-orbit operations and perform the ground controls with a two-hour delay.
Early morning view of on-orbit operations.  

All suited up for ground controls.  
We had a special chance to visit the Orion!

With that, it was finally time to head to Orlando and fly back to San Francisco.  We had a great time at Kennedy Space Center and we will definitely miss it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


SpaceX CRS-5 Launch 

SpaceX's Dragon with the T-Cell Experiment onboard has finally launched at 4:47am EST! Words cannot even begin to describe the emotions as we saw the rocket go up into the sky.  Emily, BJ, Karin, and I stood on the causeway anxiously awaiting, as the announcer counted 3...2...1...LIFT OFF!  The rocket lit up the dark, early morning sky into nothing we have ever seen before.  As we watched the bright shining light soar into the heavens and beyond, the sight alone was all worth the long days and nights working on this project.  This was such an amazing experience that we are so privileged to be a part of.  

Even with a successful launch, our trip is not over yet.  There are still many things to take care of in the next few days.  But for now, there's definitely time for a well deserved rest.

Friday, January 9, 2015

L-8h (again)

It's been a whirlwind of activity the last few days.  Our first launch attempt on Tuesday (it seems so long ago now) was scrubbed just under 2 minutes before the scheduled launch.   We were all disappointed, of course, and returned to the lab that evening to re-do our prep and wait for confirmation on the next launch date.

Thankfully, it wasn't pushed too far back and is now set for tomorrow morning at 4:47AM.  Christina and I had another long day of T-cell isolation yesterday and are both looking forward to getting up early tomorrow morning to see the Falcon off. Go T-cell!

T-cell preparations, take two

Filled EUs and EU tools.  These are going to space tomorrow!

Monday, January 5, 2015

L-7 hours

It's been an exhausting couple days, but we have done everything we can! We have isolated the T-Cells from the blood of donors, filled the experimental units, and handed them over.  Emily and I with the help of BJ and Karin were able to work through the long hours it all took.  It's such a relief to be done for now!  Here are some pictures to document the process:

KI and T-Cell Team after the handover of EUs and tools

Emily and Christina isolating the T-Cells

Filled EUs ready to be transported.  
Emily and I were invited to visit the SpaceX rocket that was ready for launch.  Our samples are on the capsule! It was such a great and gratifying experience to see the rocket in person.

SpaceX Rocket ready to launch
Obligatory selfie by the rocket.  

And now we wait, for the final few hours before the launch!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Back at Cape

L-5!  Christina and I arrived in Cape Canaveral from SFO this evening, refreshed from the winter holidays and looking forward to the launch attempt on January 6th.  We'll be getting our samples tomorrow evening and will start our preparation for our T-cell isolation on Saturday.  Everything for launch is still a go, so we're all very hopeful this is the real deal.